Hooch tragedy: Excise probe finds official lapses

A probe by the excise department into the twin hooch tragedy that claimed 26 lives in Mallapuram district has found lapses on the part of its officials.

Thiruvananthapuram: A probe by the
excise department into the twin hooch tragedy that claimed 26
lives in Mallapuram district has found lapses on the part of
its officials in taking steps to prevent contamination of
toddy despite intelligence warnings.

The preliminary inquiry findings also quoted police
reports on the tragedy which pointed out that a section of
officials were receiving money on regular basis from the
`liquor mafia`.

The report prepared by Excise Commissioner Subbai was
submitted to the Excise Minister PK Gurudasn here today.

Twenty-six people died after consuming illicit liquor
from two toddy shops in Kuttipuram and Vandoor in Mallapuram
District on September 6 following which the state government
ordered a judicial probe.

According to officials sources, the probe found that
the Excise officials in the area failed to take preventive
steps despite intelligence reports that contamination of toddy
had been taking place in some parts of the state.

The officials did not bother to regularly collect
samples from shops and send them for quality tests to
authorised laboratories, it said.

The report also indicated that the toddy consumed by
those dead was mixed with chemical material and spirit.

The tragedy in Kuttippuram in Malappuram, from where
the majority of the victims consumed toddy, was quite serious
as the shop was situated very near to the Excise office, the
report said.

The report observed that the findings were of general
nature since the state government had already ordered a
judicial probe into the incident and also the investigation by
the Crime Branch police was on.

Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court has turned down the
state government`s request for providing the services of a
sitting judge to conduct the judicial inquiry into the

High court sources said a written reply in this regard
had been sent to the government.


Jammu: Several Hindu organisations today
demanded that an all party delegation should visit Jammu and
Ladakh regions and meet representatives of Jammu, Ladakh and
displaced Kashmiri Pandits for taking note of their political
aspirations and grievances.

"The people in Jammu and Ladakh regions have been at
the receiving end in the state and their aspirations and
grievances deserve urgent redressal and solutions," the
leaders of these organisations said at a joint-press
conference here.

Among those who were present included Ramakant Dubey
(President of VHP state unit), Nand Kishore (state president
of Bajrang Dal), Ashwani Chrungoo (President of Panun Kashmir),
A N Vaishnavi (President of All State Kashmiri Pandit
Conference) and Surrinder Aggrawal (President of Shri Baba
Amarnath Yatri Niyas).

The all party delegation should not ignore political
aspirations of people of Jammu, Ladakh and displaced Kashmiri
Pandits and ensure to incorporate their views in a report to
be submitted to the Centre, Dubey and Chrungoo said.

"We jointly resolve to safeguard national interests at
all costs and appeal to patriotic forces to join together to
fight this nationalist struggle in the state," the leaders

A delegation from the state comprising various
organisations would meet personalities in Delhi and other
places in the country to apprise them about the situation
prevailing in the state, they said.

The leaders also collectively condemned violence and
large-scale arson, besides asking the government to establish
the rule of law in Jammu and Kashmir.